How biofuel can lead to new environmental threats

Could switching to biofuels such as biodiesel or ethanol be trading one environmental hazard for another? Most people view the renewable resource as the panacea to oil and all its ills: cheap, pollution-free, and renewable.
It's the latter quality, though, that alarms some experts. WorldWatch reports that increased interest in biofuels, especially by First World nations and their high energy demands, could lead to quicker destruction of forests and jungles to make room for energy crops. States Christopher Flavin, president of Worldwatch, "The most problematic and serious risk [of biofuels] is of spreading into wild areas and impacting biodiversity. That is going to require more stringent laws than currently exist in most countries." Worse, many of the traditional farming problems such as soil erosion and the use of pesticides and fertilizer would be magnified by such farms. Finally, the poor would face higher prices for biofuel crops such as corn or sugar. WorldWatch suggests a close watch on biofuel growth and use of conservation techniques as no-till cropping.

World to suffer corn shortage as ethanol demand increases
Biodiesel is the wrong answer

[Source: Reuters via NDTV Profit]

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